The decision of the Church of England's General Synod not to ordain women to the priesthood has presented some problems for the Anglican leadership engaged in ecumenical relations with Protestant bodies here.
Anglican leaders, including Dr. Donald Coggan, the archbishop of Canterbury, are now studying the implication of the Synod's action.
They are said to be particularly worried that the decision will not help Anglicans in their desire to develop closer ties with the English Free Churches - such as the Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational - which have had women in the ministry for years. On the other hand, the decision has been well received by the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Old Catholic churches.
The comment of one noted Free Church leader, Dr. Kenneth Greet, secretary of the Methodist Conference and one of the prime movers of the British ecumenical movement, received wide press attention here.
Greet was quoted as commenting that the synod's decision would mean a "continued impoverishment of the Anglican ministry by the exclusion of women who must feel deeply frustrated by the rejection" and that it would inevitably make it much harder to achieve a form of convenant on unity acceptable to the English churches.
"It would do nothing to encourage those in the Roman Catholic Church who believe that their church should move towards the ordination of women," he added. "It will, in the judgment of many, confirm the image of the church as obscurantist and backward-looking."